“Be at peace among yourselves.” 1st Thessalonians 5:13
Today’s devotional has been prepared by Mark Roberts and can be found at: https://depree.org/peace-is-so-much-more/
“Be at peace among yourselves” is one of those portions of Scripture that is easily overlooked. Or we might regard this portion of 1 Thessalonians 5:13 as the sort of thing you’d find on a poster or in a greeting card. The thought is a good one as far as it goes, but it doesn’t seem to deserve much attention.
Our tendency to minimize or miss the point of this imperative has to do, in part, with our tacit understanding of peace. We might understand “Be at peace among yourselves” as equivalent to “Hey folks! Just get along.” Peace is mainly a matter of being nice and not stirring up trouble.
The biblical understanding of peace is far deeper and far wider than this. It surely includes the absence of conflict and suggests that people are getting along with each other. But, in Scripture, peace means so much more.
We need to keep in mind the nature of biblical peace—shalom in Old Testament Hebrew, eirene in New Testament Greek. In Scripture, peace is the absence of war or conflict. It’s also the experience of inner calm. But those notions are just the beginning. Biblical shalom is a life being fully and rightly ordered according to God’s master plan. As theologian Cornelius Plantinga observes, biblical peace is “the webbing together of God, humans, and all creation in justice, fulfillment, and delight.” It is “a rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed.” In a nutshell, according to Plantinga, peace is “the way things ought to be.” So, biblical peace is about wholeness, flourishing, and the abundant life.
Thus, when Paul and his co-writers say, “Be at peace among yourselves,” they are saying more than “Please get along.” Rather, they are envisioning a quality of common life in which each person is able to flourish and in which the church flourishes together. When we experience biblical peace, not only are we living fruitfully, meaningfully, and purposefully, but also we are living harmoniously with our sisters and brothers in Christ.
In a time of history when the divisions among people are so stark and malicious, when people tend to seek their own good rather than the common good, wouldn’t it be something if we Christians could be at peace among ourselves? What might it say to our neighbors if our engagement with our brothers and sisters in church helped us to flourish even as it also helped our neighbors to flourish? Even though there is so much strife in our world today, I believe that people are hungry for a taste of biblical peace. Our ability to be at peace among ourselves, in the fully biblical sense of that phrase, will speak a powerful world of witness to the world. It will serve as an invitation to people to come and experience the abundant life Jesus offers.
Can you think of a time when you were part of a Christian community that was living in peace – biblical peace – together? What was that like? What enabled that to happen?
In what was does your Christian community help you to flourish?
In what ways do you help others in your Christian community to flourish?
How does your church contribute to the common good of your city?
Brainstorming Bicentennial Logo
Our bicentennial committee is looking to create a logo for our 200th anniversary and could use your help! If you have ideas of what an inspiring logo might look like or an actual design, please feel free to share those with Bruce or Beth LaPenta.
Flemington UMC Darts Team
The Hunterdon County Church Dart season will start on October 10, 2022. If anyone would like to join the team, please contact Bruce LaPenta
Food Drive for Flemington Area Pantry
Throughout October, our church is looking to gather groceries for the Flemington Area Food Pantry, an organization that serves those in need in our community. Click on this link to find a list of what the Food Pantry is looking for: https://flemingtonfoodpantry.org/help-us All groceries can be placed in the back of the sanctuary.
Dr. June’s Recital
Dr. June will perform a piano recital on October 30th at 3 pm in our sanctuary. All are invited to join us in the church sanctuary as we listen to Dr. June’s beautiful musical performance. There will be light refreshments after the recital in Fellowship Hall.
NJ Woman’s Song Concert
On Saturday, October 22nd, at 4 pm, the NJ Woman’s Song will perform a concert at our church in the sanctuary. So join us for this special afternoon, and be sure to invite a friend!
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